11 Top-Rated Family Resorts in the Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a top destination for families who want a relaxing escape, and its reputation as a Caribbean tourist hub is well-deserved. The most important elements of a family resort are a balance of indoor and outdoor activities that include kid-centered options, as well as things that the whole family can do.
For many families, this can also be an opportunity for kids and parents to go their own ways for a much-needed break, allowing mom and dad some alone time and the kids the opportunity to make new friends and get spoiled by staff. For those who want to get the most out of their vacation, there are several all-inclusive options that allow you to say "yes" to all the food and fun the family wants.
Despite Puerto Plata's legacy as the first resort area in the country and an abundance of top-rated beaches along the entire shoreline, Punta Cana and nearby Bávaro seem to have caught on to the need for high-quality family-oriented resorts. Their constant upgrades and facility additions hint that the resorts are realizing just how important kids' programs are to family vacations. In Punta Cana, the competitive spirit of the industry has led to an abundance of excellent family resort options that continue to get better each year. Find the best places to stay with our list of the top family resorts in the Dominican Republic.
1. Paradisus Punta Cana Resort
Punta Cana's largest and most prestigious resort is the Paradisus, earning its reputation by providing outstanding services and activities for all ages. Its most remarkable service is Family Concierge, an upgrade option that takes a family vacation to a new level. This service includes a dedicated butler, who manages and coordinates each family member's daily schedule; exclusive programs and activities; a private pool area; and in-room amenities like bedtime milk and cookies.
Guests can get to and from the resort's many recreational areas and the beach via shuttle or on the provided bicycles. Outdoor activities include horseback riding and eco-tours of the mangroves; the adventure park's climbing wall and trampoline; water sports, including water polo lessons and body boarding; beach fun like volleyball; and numerous pools, including one just for kids. There are a dozen restaurants to choose from, including one run by a Michelin star-rated chef.
Child care is also included, with a dedicated baby zone, the Mini Club for ages one to 12, the kids zone for ages 3 to 12, and a teen program for ages 13 and up. Planned activities include sports like basketball and tennis, dance lessons, art lessons, camping in the garden, and a variety of workshops. There are also theme days, a mini disco, karaoke, movie nights, and pool parties to keep all the kids having a great time.
Accommodation: Paradisus Punta Cana Resort
2. Club Med Punta Cana
Although the Club Med brand may conjure images of newlyweds and college students, Club Med Punta Cana is tailored specifically for the needs of families who want to have a memorable vacation. Even babies are welcome here, and the resort has thought of everything, from special baby food prep areas in the restaurants to complimentary strollers.
The number one feature here is the resort's Circus School, a unique place where all ages can learn the basics, from juggling to the trapeze. For the more dedicated, the Creactive program by Cirque do Soleil teaches entertainment skills in greater depth, including music, acrobatics, and tightrope walking.
The resort's kids' camp programs are available for kids four months and up, allowing mom and dad to get some quiet time. Baby Club Med welcomes little ones ages four months to 23 months and Petit Club Med is designed for ages two and three, with a variety of daily activities from outdoor play to storytelling. Day programs for ages four and up are included in the resort package, divided into multiple age groups with age-appropriate activities, including archery and water sports.
Accommodation: Club Med Punta Cana
3. Iberostar Costa Dorada, Puerto Plata
Puerto Plata's Iberostar Costa Dorada is a five-star all-inclusive resort that makes an effort to offer activities that can be enjoyed by the entire family. In addition, there are still plenty of places where mom and dad can relax, including the on-site spa and entertainment venues. Kid-focused areas include the Mini Club, which is equipped with games and a playground; the Teen Club; and a dedicated children's pool and water play area.
Parents of four to 12-year-olds also have the option of utilizing the Star Camp, where the kids are kept busy and happy with plenty of activities, from arts and crafts to science experiments and technology exploration. Resort activities for all ages include water sports like kayaking, tennis, fitness classes, and even archery lessons. Those interested in kiteboarding will want to ask about day trips to nearby Cabarete, the top kiteboarding destination, where you will find excellent conditions for experts and instruction for newbies.
Accommodation: Iberostar Costa Dorada
4. The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real
Sister property to our #1 resort choice, the Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real is a smaller but equally impressive property that was designed specifically for families. The outstanding Paradisus Family Concierge service is available here as well, included in the price of a Family Concierge Suite. Families that choose this option will enjoy extras, like an exclusive check-in area, turndown service, and, of course, the superb personal concierge service.
The Mini Club, for ages one to 12, has everything you can think of to keep the kids happy on their vacation. Outdoors, the adventure park offers a bouncy house and climbing wall, or kids can take swimming lessons. Other activities include lessons from cooking to tennis, arts and crafts, and a video game room with all the latest platforms and games. There is also special kids' entertainment, including puppet and magic shows for the younger ones, karaoke and disco nights for tweens and teens, and movie nights for all ages.
While the kids are playing, parents can relax at the spa; take lessons in snorkeling, dance, and more; and enjoy live music and shows. The entire family will love the seemingly endless pool complex, which is complete with waterslides and a kiddie zone, and there are excursions available for those who want to see more of the island.
Accommodation: The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real
5. Melia Caribe Beach Resort, Punta Cana
On Punta Cana's Bávaro Beach, the Melia Caribe Beach Resort is a massive complex that offers a full range of room options, including large family suites equipped with bunk beds and game consoles. In addition to the white-sand beaches, guests can enjoy nine pools, the most popular being a Flinstones-themed pool area complete with play structures that bring the cartoon to life with friendly dinosaurs, and boulders and fun waterslides.
Full-day childcare is included at the Kids Club, open from 9am to 8pm to children eight months and older; babysitting services are also available at an extra charge. Parents will enjoy free unlimited golf on the resort's 18-hole course, and the remainder of the property is a 120-acre nature area, where you can stroll through flower gardens, meet the resident turtles and flamingoes, or give the ziplines and ropes course a try.
Accommodation: Melia Caribe Beach Resort
6. Grand Palladium Bávaro Suites
Guests at the Grand Palladium Bávaro Suites have full access to amenities and facilities at the neighboring Grand Palladium Resort and Spa, but as the name suggests, the resort's family suites are what set it apart. The resort complex has six pools with swim-up refreshment stands, four of which access the resort's exclusive swim-up suites. Water sports include complimentary kayak rentals and windsurfing lessons. Four kids' programs provide age-appropriate activities for children one to 17 years old.
The resort's most attractive feature for families with kids up to 12 is the Castillo de Pirata - the Pirate Castle - which is a special kid's area designed in a colonial fort theme. This beautifully landscaped area is just as appealing to parents, featuring a lush lawn and gardens, which you can enjoy while watching the little ones splash in the pool and small water park area. In addition to the water play, there is a video game room, snack bar, and theater. The youngest ones will want to meet up with the resort's mascot Raggs, who provides fun entertainment for little kids.
Accommodation: Grand Palladium Bávaro Suites
7. Barcelo Bávaro Palace, Punta Cana
Punta Cana's Barcelo Bávaro Palace had families in mind when it built two water parks on-site. The Pirates Island park is for all ages, while the Barcy Water Park was made for kids with its bright ocean-themed structures. Here, you can find everything from wading pools and spray zones to waterslides and wave pools. In addition to the water parks, there are four pools where you can relax in a hammock by a waterfall, grab a snack while tanning, or do laps in the semi-Olympic pool.
Family Club packages are all-inclusive, so mom and dad can relax when the kids raid the in-room "mini-bar," which is stocked with juice, milk, and snacks. Kids are also provided with "beach kits," so they have the tools they need to build a sandcastle, and older kids will enjoy the teen nightclub. There are nearly a dozen restaurants on-site, and the huge theater presents matinees and evening showings of popular movies for all ages.
Accommodation: Barcelo Bávaro Palace
8. Ocean Blue & Sand
Another excellent Punta Cana family resort in the Bávaro area is Ocean Blue & Sand, best known for its quaint "town square" at the center of the resort and its central pool area, which is livened up with music all day long. In addition to eight restaurants that include Mexican and Italian cuisine among other specialties, there are four snack bars, which are open 24 hours a day. Families can also enjoy live shows at the theater, take water sports lessons including diving, and have some competitive fun at the sports center.
Kids age four to 12 can spend their days at Miniclub Daisy, and the Teenclub is designed for ages 13 to 17. Kids' entertainment facilities include a large game area that has everything, including traditional board games, air hockey and foosball, and video games. The game building is also home to a bowling alley, where kids and parents can hang out together.
Accommodation: Ocean Blue & Sand
9. Majestic Colonial Punta Cana
Majestic Colonial Punta Cana is an all-suite, all-inclusive resort, which is more compact than many of its counterparts, leaving families able to walk to and from the beach, pools, and various amenities. It is a waterbug's dream, featuring a 1,300-foot pool that spans the length of the complex as well as kids-only pools with slides and sprayers. For beach lovers, the resort provides complimentary umbrellas, towels, and chairs. The Splash Kids Club offers supervised play, including a playground and video game room.
The entire family will love the many options for activities, including outdoor facilities like lit tennis courts and basketball courts and indoor options in the large games room, which features a variety of diversions, from darts and pool tables to table tennis and pétanque. There is also family-friendly entertainment during the day and night, as well as food choices, including a Caribbean seafood restaurant.
Accommodation: Majestic Colonial Punta Cana
10. Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana
Another excellent all-inclusive option in Punta Cana is Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana, which has day programs for young children and a good variety of options for teens. Mom and dad can drop the little ones off at the Explorer's Club, where they will participate in a range of activities, from water play and nature walks to indoor options like story time. Teens 13 to 17 can hang out at the Core Zone Teens Club and enjoy teens-only evening activities like beach bonfires and dance parties. Other kids facilities include a game room, nightly movies on the beach, and even seaside camping experiences.
The whole family will love the luxury of 24-hour room service; swim-up refreshment stands in the giant pool; and the on-site spa, where even kids ages six and up can enjoy some pampering. On the beach, a lifeguard is on duty for safety, and there are frequent games and events including sand castle competitions. Those who want to get a peek at some of the Dominican Republic's most beautiful coral reefs can grab some snorkeling equipment and swim right over.
Accommodation: Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana
11. Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus
Tucked away on the southern shore of the island, adjacent to the island's largest National Park, is Bayahibe Beach. The Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus is a laid-back all-inclusive resort, which offers suites and connecting rooms for larger families, each with private balconies. Among the resort's four pools is a kids-only zero-entry pool, as well as a large pool used for the scuba diving lessons that are available for all guests ages 12 and up.
Organized kids' programs at "Star Camp" are tailored for various age groups, starting with four-year-olds. Here, kids play games, listen to live music, explore themed play areas, and get messy with arts and crafts projects - and if they want, they can even take Spanish lessons. This small beach town is close to the lovely town of La Romana and baseball-lover's mecca of San Pedro De Macoris, both of which can be excellent day trips, however tourists should only use tour companies recommended by the hotel.
Accommodation: Iberostar Hacienda Dominicus